leadership

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Leading a Small Group

  • 15 September 2017
  • Keith Reed

Deep thoughtIt's hard to multiply small groups if you don’t have small group leaders. And when churches are flooded with people who want to join a group, the logical solution is to launch new groups—even if there isn't anyone to lead them. This is a "problem" well worth solving because groups carry the potential to be excellent incubators of spiritual growth. But it comes with two obvious challenges: 

1. How to find suitable leaders for new groups (most people don't want to lead small groups)  
2. How to train new leaders before their groups begin 

What should you do?

There are many ways to locate and discern new leaders (here are 10 strategies for recruiting volunteers), so I will focus here on the second challenge: how to train new leaders.

Leadership training is critical to ministry success and an effective way to equip new leaders is by sending them resources that they can access on their own time. Our small groups ministry page is designed with this in mind

However, there might be an occasion when there simply isn't enough time for new leaders to be trained before their first meeting. And even for those who have been adequately trained, the experience of leading a small group will prompt new experiences and questions. After all, no two groups are the same.   

I asked followers of our MinistryLift Facebook page to give their advice to first-time small group leaders. They delivered some wise comments that you can view here (please add to the ongoing conversation).

Here are 5 things I wish I knew before I led a small group for the first time: 

Establishing Church Goals During Pastoral Transitions

  • 10 April 2017
  • Cam Taylor

Times of pastoral transition are windows of opportunity for a congregation to experience turning points towards health and renewed ministry. Welcoming a new senior pastor into a healthy, functional, and spiritually-renewed church community is a goal worth pursuing!

There are two approaches to pastoral transition―a more traditional approach or an intentional-transitional approach. There was a day when a "hold-the-fort-until-the-next-pastor-arrives" mindset worked, but this is less effective today.

The Intentional-Transitional Approach

The intentional-transitional approach focuses on seeing the time between pastors as a season of opportunity, and a time to facilitate meaningful and sustainable change. In this model, the transitional leader is a trained specialist and prepares the congregation to eventually do their search from a posture of health, prayer, and readiness.

The Five Benefits to the Intentional-Transitional Model

Why is it worth taking the time and trouble to engage in a well-planned transition? Let me give you with five of the benefits: 

1. During transition, you can create an atmosphere that fosters positive change and healthy adjustment. 

2. During transition, you have the opportunity to bring in outside specialists who are equipped to facilitate change―a luxury you often can’t afford during seasons of regular ministry.  

3. During transition, the focus on overall church health sets up the search process to be conducted from a place of strength, clear identity, and vision.  

4. The intentional-transitional model allows a congregation to work systematically through a process that recognizes key milestones and gives opportunity to involve new people. 

5. The transitional model gives the opportunity to deal with unwanted sacred cows and elephants too difficult to tackle during seasons of normal ministry.

Eight Transitional Goals

Below are descriptions of the eight transitional goals you seek to achieve during the transitional process. There is flexibility in how to achieve these goals, but the principles are fixed. 

1. Facilitating Closure 

Closure involves dealing with the past so as not to hinder what God is wanting to do in the future. A transitional leader serves as counselor and skilled listener―helping individuals relate to and deal with their past so it does not negatively impact God’s plan for the future.

2. Facilitating Preaching

4 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Your Strengths

  • 17 February 2017
  • Randy Wollf

Caulk on handsStrengths-based leadership is a trendy topic today. Is focusing on our strengths, those skills that are already well-developed, really a good approach? Even though there are some potential dangers associated with strengths-based leadership, I believe that there are four reasons why we should include this approach in our leadership.

Reason #1 – You Will be More Engaged in Your Work

Think about one of your weaknesses that you bring into the workplace. How does it feel when you use that weakness repeatedly to accomplish something? Now, think about one of your work-related strengths? How does it feel when you get to use that strength in your work?

Most people tend to feel discouraged, inadequate, and unmotivated when they serve in areas of weakness. However, the opposite is usually true when we get to use our strengths. We feel empowered, excited, and fulfilled.

According to a 2007 Gallup poll, “People who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general." [1]

The Gallup research clearly indicates that we will be more excited about our work when we get to use our strengths. The staff and volunteers on our teams will be more motivated to serve when we help them use their strengths in meaningful ways. In fact, Rath and Conchie discovered that when organizational leaders focus on peoples’ strengths, there is a 73% chance that they will be engaged in their work (compared to 9% when leaders do not focus on others’ strengths). [2]

When we are engaged in our ministry, we are much more willing to make significant investments in that ministry. Our enthusiasm level is higher, which spreads to others. We’re more likely to persevere with a project and stick with a ministry long-term.

Andy Stanley has said, “Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else." [3] 

In other words, focus on your strengths.

Reason #2 – God Wants Us to Wisely Invest What He Gives Us

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